Buying your first pony for your child
‘Mummy, Mummy can I have a pony?’ Have you been asked this by your daughter or son? Groan…what to do…some research! Buying a child's first pony is a large expense and a 365 day a year responsibility. It goes without saying that you’re under massive pressure to buy one as so-and-so already has one! But take your time, in fact all the time that you need to get all the answers to your questions before you buy. You know the saying…’buy in haste, repent at leisure’. This statement was never more true than when buying your child’s first pony!
How much will a pony cost to buy?
This question is right up there with “how long is a piece of string!” The purchase price of a pony can go from under £1,000 at the very bottom end of the scale right up to thousands of pounds and even more.
Ponies might be smaller than horses but this doesn't mean how much they cost to buy is proportionally smaller. The price of a good pony can be the same or actually higher than a horse. Why? Because the seller knows that you want to buy the safest pony you can.
How much will a pony cost to keep?
The cost of the pony is only the beginning. There are running costs as with the car that you drive. You’ll need to buy good-quality hay and hard feed. Equally you’ll also have to pay for board, vet, farrier, insurance, tack, rugs etc.
What should I be looking for?
It’s simple. Or is it? You need to find a pony that is safe, dependable, well mannered, well trained, easy to handle and ride, healthy etc. The list goes on. Somehow you’ve got to find a pony that will build your child's confidence so that he or she can learn and have fun without being afraid.
Be prepared to compromise
Sometimes you have to compromise. You might think it would be nice if your child had a young pony to 'grow up with'. All young ponies and horses are extremely clever. They soon recognise inexperience or lack of confidence of a young rider and take advantage. A safe choice is an older pony who has learned to be obedient.
You may have a choice between a very pretty pony that's flighty or a pony that’s not quite so attractive or flashy. If you want your child to be safe, build confidence and have fun right now, choose the latter.
Match the size of the pony to your child as best you can. You should plan for a first pony to be in your family for about two or three years before it is outgrown. Do bear in mind that buying a pony is not like buying children’s clothes, i.e. that they’ll 'grow into' a pony. Your child has to be able to reach it to groom it, put a bridle and saddle on otherwise it’ll just be physically intimidating for them and they may lose interest.
Compromising can be tough but it’s far better to have a beloved first pony that comes to mean so many good things rather than one that causes tears when the child is scared or hurt.
Despite all of this you finally decide that you’re going to buy your child a pony…but where do you find one. Read Kim’s next article in this series to find out...
In the meantime, read Kim's blog article about The Pony Club, what it is and how to join to find out more about how your child can get involved in horse riding.